May 18, 2024

Lufthansa among those interested: the man who is supposed to sell TAP for the second time

In 2015, Miguel Pinto Luz participated in the first privatization of a tap. As Minister, he was now once again charged with the task of finding a private investor for the Portuguese national airline. Lufthansa will also closely monitor the path it will take.

About three weeks after the election, a new minority government was sworn in in Portugal. Conservative Prime Minister Luis Montenegro and his six and eleven ministers, declared by Montenegro as an Assembly of Experts, do not have a majority in parliament and rely on the opposition.

Exciting to fly: The new Minister of Infrastructure is former Secretary of State Miguel Pinto Luz. He is responsible for the re-privatization of the airline Tap. The previous government started this last year. Now it remains to be seen whether Pinto Luz will implement it as planned by the new government.

Will it stay with Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and IAG?

The plan so far has been to sell at least 51% of the airline, while retaining 5% for employees. “We do not want purely financial investments,” then Finance Minister Fernando Medina explained in September 2023. “We want large investors from the aviation sector, individually or in consortiums to lead them, in line with our strategic objectives.”

This means that three out of six known bidders at the time were excluded because they were purely financial investors. The main airline groups remained in Europe: Lufthansa Group, Air France-KLM and IAG. Miguel Pinto Luz can of course change these rules and thus expand the circle of interested parties once again. He can announce that the restructured Tap company achieved the highest net profit in its history last year.

It also participated in the first privatization

For Miguel Pinto Luz, this is not the first time the tap has been privatized. During his brief stint as Minister of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure, he was also involved in the first privatization of Faucets in 2015. At that time, Atlantic Gateway, a consortium led by Azul founder David Neeleman and businessman Humberto Pedrosa, took control of the airline as the new majority owner .

In 2023, Prime Minister António Costa Pinto accused Luz of irresponsibly selling TAP “at three o'clock in the morning” as part of a representative of the outgoing government, with “an unlimited guarantee of future debts.” Pinto Luz publicly defended himself and called the statements false. “The process of privatization of the tap that I completed in 2015 has been subject to scrutiny,” Pinto Luz said, by the Court of Auditors, parliamentary committees, the judiciary and journalists.